School board hears construction report
October 24, 2019
The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors learned about the Career Technical Education program, transportation issues, and got an update on the FISH Center on Tuesday.
Vocational/Agriculture teacher Kyle Hurley went over his five year plan for the Career Technical Education program, which he needed the school board to approve in order to receive Perkins grant funds. The board later approved the plan and the grant.
Hurley will use the funds to update curriculum by purchasing 40 new textbooks.
Superintendent Brent Freeman said he and Hurley had applied for a grant to purchase an updated plasma cutter and an excavator for the CTE program.
“WSU has chosen myself to have a student teacher next year,” Hurley said. “That’s going to be fun and challenging.”
He has been working on a Field to Fork program with some of his colleagues, to bring more food science into the classroom, hoping to teach a culinary class and give students an opportunity to see where their food comes from.
The conversation segued to the FISH Center, the commercial kitchen and fish processing center currently being built on school grounds. Students have been involved in the build, learning to use an excavator, putting math skills to practice, working with masons, and more.
“Every single phase of that building has sweat from our kids,” Freeman said. “It’s a great opportunity. The masons want to come back and teach our kids.”
Freeman expressed gratitude for the contractors for the project, Northwest Legacy, as well as Craig Collins, the architect, and Carrie Backman from the Wahkiakum WSU Extension office, who got the whole thing started.
Transportation is a huge cost to the school district, and they’ve had a couple buses break down while transporting students in the two years he has been superintendent, Freeman said. He asked the board to consider an alternative approach that would provide new buses at the school district, instead of the used ones they’ve purchased in the past.
“We’ve got six buses that have roughly a quarter of a million miles on them out of a 12 bus fleet,” Freeman said. “We just paid under $20,000 for an engine repair, and we’ve got another bus that is completely down.”
The program he alluded to is used by other school districts. Schools purchase new buses, using a depreciation cycle offset by the state.
“There is no way to avoid the cost up front, but we’ll end up getting free buses on the back end of it,” Freeman said.
In other news, the board approved overnight trips for state sporting events, supplemental contracts for coaches, and approved a change to the schedule which will move an In-service date from April 17 to April 13.